Monday, 18 November 2013

What is a Domain Name?

Simply put, your domain name is your website address e.g. In today’s world it is a valuable part of your business identity—no two organisations can have the same domain name—and as such is an important marketing tool for helping internet users to reach you easily.

Domain Names must:

  • be at least 2 characters long;
  • contain only letters (a-z), numbers (0-9) and hyphens (-), or a combination of these;
  • start and end with a number or a letter, not a hyphen; and
  • not contain hyphens in the third and fourth position (eg.

How do I choose a suitable domain name?
It is important when choosing your domain name to remember that users must be able to associate it with your organisation, such as your business name or a generic name that defines your business type
Domain names are often referred to simply as domains and domain name registrants are frequently referred to as domain owners, although domain name registration does not confer any legal ownership of the domain name, only an exclusive right of use.
A Domain Name is Not the Same as URL
To be technically correct, a domain name is commonly part of a larger Internet address called a URL. A URL goes into more detail than a domain name, providing much more information, including the specific page address, folder name, machine name, and protocol language.

  • Domain names are organised right to left, with general descriptors to the right, and specific descriptors to the left. It is like family surnames to the right, specific person names to the left.
  • The top level domains (TLD, or parent domain) is to the far right of a domain name. Mid level domains (children and grandchildren) are in the middle. The machine name, often "www", is to the far left.
  • Levels of domains are separated by periods ("dots").

Domains and email
Email also relies on domain names to work. Once you have a domain name you are able to create your own email address of This has many advantages for branding and professional communications rather than a generic email address such as Hotmail or Gmail. 

Don't let your Domain Name expire
It is vital to renew your domain name on time, otherwise you will find both your website and email will be down. Renewal period is 2 years for domains and every 12 months for .com domain names.

Written by +Denise Angus


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    1. I agree that at times understanding how the internet works can appear to be daunting. However having a website built does not need to be a "mind boggling movement". When meeting a client for the first time I generally find that I can get a good indication of the person's IT knowledge. It's important to present information in a language that they can understand. No-one likes to be bamboozled with technical jargon. I find that if I can help my client's get a better understanding of the basics, then over time we can discuss more complex queries when they arise.

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